Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Christopher, Evan

Clarinetist Evan Christopher is a leading exponent of the early jazz tradition. Although he was born in 1974 in Long Beach, California, his highly individual sound is anchored in the expressive language created by early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Omer Simeon, Jimmie Noone and Barney Bigard.

In 1994, he moved from California to New Orleans where he quickly entrenched himself in the local music scene appearing with musicians as stylistically diverse as veterans of Preservation Hall and Al Hirt to funk and brass bands such as the Nightcrawlers and Galactic. In 1996, he left to join the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio, Texas, and for almost three years, he appeared nightly as their featured clarinetist and recorded several of their syndicated radio show, Riverwalk: Live from the Landing alongside guest artists such as Dick Hyman, William Warfield, and Topsy Chapman.

Christopher returned to New Orleans in 2001 and was based there through August of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina forced him to leave, but he resettled in New Orleans in 2008. Recognized worldwide as an important advocate for early jazz styles, Mr. Christopher has shared the stage with jazz legends including Marshall Hawkins, Tony Scott, Arvell Shaw, and Kenny Davern. He is featured on many recordings with New Orleans artists such as Big Al Carson, Walter Payton, Duke Heitger, Narvin Kimball, Uncle Lionel Battiste, and Tom McDermott. Delta Bound (Arbor's Records 2007), Live at the Meridien (Independent 2007), and his Clarinet Road series (STR Digital) are among the recordings under his own name.

Mr. Christopher began his musical training on clarinet at age 11. In high school, he received the Louis Armstrong National Jazz Award and was one of the first graduates of the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy. He continued studies at the University of Southern California and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Published research and academic presentations on the New Orleans clarinet style initiated his pursuit of a Masters degree in Musicology at Tulane University. Besides leading his own groups, the Jazz Traditions Project and Django a la Creole, he frequently tours as a featured soloist with groups such as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and coaches the New Orleans Jazz Ensemble at the University of New Orleans.

Web Site:
Evan Christopher's web site